The Language of Physics pp 169-206 | Cite as

# On the Margins: Experimental Philosophy and Mathematics in Britain, 1790–1830

## Abstract

Experimental philosophers in Britain developed their own forms of theoretical physics during the same period as the Germans. In broad outlines, the processes through which these transformations occurred were the same. Socially experimental philosophy became a profession rather than an avocation; passage into the research community narrowed from self-education to formal, certified educational levels within the universities of Britain. Access to entry into the research communities was consequently constrained by these formal, educational gateways. Training became the modern apprenticeship of graduated courses, problems sets, and textbooks along with laboratory courses. Access narrowed to the social institutions of science that had appeared as open and serving many cultural, economic, and social purposes in the late eighteenth century. Their memberships and purposes became limited to the professional, research oriented physicist. The institutions that had been intellectually universal and geographically local became narrowly specialized and geographically national.

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### References

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*Cambridge before Darwin: The Ideal of a Liberal Education, 1800–1860*(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980).Google Scholar - 115b.M. V. Wilkes has explored the roles of Peacock, and Herschel in shaping the Cambridge curriculum in the middle of the nineteenth century in Wilkes, “Herschel, Peacock, Babbage and the Development of the Cambridge Curriculum,”
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